We’ve been fairly vocal about comedy being an advertising medium that has yet to be fully exploited in a brand world where music, film and fashion have been almost entirely wrung dry.
Heck, we even dedicated an entire article and a nationally representative survey to this very subject in our 'New Patrons of Entertainment' report earlier this year in a bid to uncover what this somewhat untapped medium has to offer brands today.
One of our stand out examples of the new wave of comedy marketing appeared last September when Philips launched its Nigel & Victoria webisode series, an interesting interplay between product demo, celebrity endorsement and situation comedy.
The series, which focused on the burgeoning relationship between Dutch actress Victoria Koblenko and an actor playing the part of a bumbling Philips marketing manager, was delivered in eight short bursts via Facebook and managed to place products within the narrative, in a blatant but convincing way, due to the nature of both the writing and the accessible characterisation.
As with any good rom com there has to be a sequel and Philips is currently rolling out ‘Nigel & Victoria 2: the search for the new Victoria’, which picks up from the end of the last series when the unlikely couple got together and sees Nigel on a mission to locate product ambassadors like Victoria the world over.
It’s a clever follow up, enabling the brand to operate the comedy campaign on a global level as Nigel road tests plenty of Philips products on his search for a new Victoria. For example, actress/singer Karylle - a Philips brand ambassador in her own right and a major star in the Philippines - has apparently been involved in the series (we unearthed some footage of her trip to London).
The production appears to have stepped up a gear and continues to build on its comedy timing and characterisation, with Nigel now paired up with a new male un-buddy sidekick in the form of Dan his somewhat eager producer. However, the real beauty of series 2 is in the international reach for the brand, turning an ambassador talent search premise into a campaign that blurs the lines between reality and fiction, utilising comedy that transcends the lure of a quick win viral.
The jury is still out on whether it can rack up similar numbers to a comedy viral and drive those all important Facebook likes, however in terms of repositioning the brand as something more than hardware, comedy delivers a level of empathy and warmth towards the product that other entertainment can't match.